Ted Lilly Rumors
The Dodgers are "open for business," according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The Los Angeles front office will consider trading potentially useful veterans including Hiroki Kuroda, Jamey Carroll, Ted Lilly, Juan Uribe, Matt Guerrier and others.
Peter Gammons reported over the weekend that the Dodgers, now 42-55, are looking to shed salary. Kuroda is drawing interest and may require compensation to accept a deal, though he the Dodgers may decide to keep him. The Brewers, who are looking to acquire help on the left side of the infield, have checked in on Carroll.
The Red Sox are "not pursuing anyone aggressively right now," a source familiar with the team's thinking told WEEI's Alex Speier. Instead, the team is currently trying to determine which internal solutions will work. We've heard the Red Sox named as one of the most aggressive suitors for Carlos Beltran, but that may not be the case.
The Sox are still taking their normal approach of "inquiring about anyone who may make an appreciable difference to the team," in the words of the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. Cafardo says the Red Sox have inquired on Beltran, Ubaldo Jimenez, Felix Hernandez, Jose Reyes, Jeff Francoeur, Jeff Baker, Michael Cuddyer, Ty Wigginton, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Ludwick, Josh Willingham, Conor Jackson, Ryan Spilborghs, Mike Adams, and others. The team needs include starting pitching, a reliever, an outfielder, and a shortstop, but the Red Sox may prefer internal options in many cases.
After last night's loss the Cubs are 12-16, in fifth place in the NL Central and 3.5 games back of the Cardinals. The club's OBP ranks fifth in the NL, their SLG sixth, their relief ERA eighth, and their starter ERA dead last at 6.17. The latest on the team:
- Dodgers lefty Ted Lilly was "a little puzzled" that the Cubs traded him last summer rather than try to retain him, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Lilly said he was "willing to get creative to try and stay," but talks didn't get far before the July 31st deal. The Cubs shipped out Lilly and Ryan Theriot with $5.158MM remaining on their contracts, but sent $2.5MM to the Dodgers in the deal. Lilly later inked a three-year, $33MM extension with the Dodgers.
- The Cubs also traded first baseman Derrek Lee last summer, saving $1.7MM in that deal with the Braves. Lee told the Tribune's Dave van Dyck he would have returned "under the right terms," but added that Jim Hendry wouldn't have traded him if the GM had wanted him back. Both Lee and his replacement Carlos Pena are off to slow starts this year. Talking to Sullivan, Hendry rattled off several new Cubs who struggled in their first month.
- Minor league signing Todd Wellemeyer, who is recovering from a hip injury, could be in the mix along with Doug Davis to fill in as the Cubs' fifth starter when the spot comes up on May 14th, reported Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday. Meanwhile Tom Gorzelanny spun a gem against the Giants last night, dropping his ERA to 2.93 through five starts. The Cubs have missed Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells, though both threw off a bullpen mound Monday and are "making good progress," according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- One more note on the fifth starter situation: I'm hearing it's doubtful the Cubs pursue Kevin Millwood.
- Cubs fans, MLBTR has you covered with Facebook and Twitter pages as well as an RSS feed.
Links for Wednesday, as the Yankees try to prolong their season...
- Baseball sources tell Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that the Dodgers are likely to bring Trey Hillman aboard as their bench coach.
- Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald wonders if Kerry Wood could have made a difference for the BoSox.
- Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks are expected to name Ray Montgomery their new scouting director. Montgomery has spent the last eight years in the Brewers organization.
- Bryce Harper will bat seventh in his Arizona Fall League debut tonight, according to the Nationals Baseball Media Relations department (via Twitter).
- The A's have announced several staff changes via press release. Gerald Perry has been welcomed back as hitting coach in place of Jim Skaalen. Joel Skinner, a longtime member of the Indians coaching staff, will take over as bench coach. Former bench coach Tye Waller will be reassigned as the first base coach. Waller replaces Todd Steverson who has been offered a position in the A's farm system.
- Mark McGwire is on the fence about returning as the Cards hitting coach, Tony La Russa told Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch.
- Former Angels scouting director Eddie Bane will join the Tigers scouting department, according to ESPN.com's Keith Law (on Twitter).
- MLB.com's Jason Beck introduces us to Tigers assistant GM Al Avila, the longtime Detroit exec who remains a GM candidate. The Tigers recently declined to let the Mets interview Avila.
- If you play fantasy baseball, head over to RotoAuthority, where Tim Dierkes examines the impact of Ted Lilly's new deal on the lefty's fantasy value.
- It doesn't look like Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima will become available to MLB teams this year, according to reports passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (Twitter link).
- Cubs GM Jim Hendry told MLB.com's Carrie Muskat that he will "absolutely" welcome Ryne Sandberg back to Chicago's minor league system if the Hall of Famer wants to continue working his way to the major leagues. Sandberg, a finalist for the Cubs major league job, was disappointed when the team hired Mike Quade.
- Brewers managerial candidate Pat Listach was pleased with his interview, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
The Dodgers have signed Ted Lilly to a three-year, $33MM contract that was finalized today when the 34-year-old pitcher passed a physical. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter) reports that Lilly has a full no-trade clause for the first two seasons of the deal, and the left-hander will receive a $3.5MM signing bonus to be paid out over all three years. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com broke the news of the agreement last Saturday, and MLB.com's Ken Gurnick was the first to confirm the dollar amount (both Twitter links).
Los Angeles acquired Lilly from the Cubs at the trade deadline this summer, and watched him post a 3.52 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in dozen starts (76.2 innings). He also threw his first complete game shutout since 2004 while in a Dodgers' uniform. Lilly just wrapped up the four year, $40MM contract he signed with Chicago before the 2007 season.
Lilly projected to be a Type-A free agent, so the Dodgers will be forfeiting a chance at two high draft picks with the move. Of course they would have had to offer arbitration and Lilly would have had to turn it down for that to happen, and neither of those things was a given.
Lilly was positioned to be one of the best free agent starting pitchers available, and Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman (via Twitter) calls the signing a "bargain" for Los Angeles considering what Lilly could've earned on the open market. Apparently he preferred to sign quickly, and given how the market played out last offseason, it's hard to blame him.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post.
Links for Tuesday night, as Cliff Lee and the Rangers look to advance to the ALCS....
- A story by Yoon Chul of the Korea Times quotes Shin-Soo Choo as saying he'd like to play for a team that wins more than Indians. However, GM Chris Antonetti tells Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he has spoken to Choo and the outfielder "expressed his passion for winning in Cleveland."
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson fields readers' questions about whether the Nationals will pursue Lee, Ted Lilly, Javier Vazquez, and others this offseason.
- Speaking of Lee, when the Yankees really want a player, they usually get him, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
- Fangraphs' Jack Moore says that if Albert Pujols hits free agency after the 2011 season, it would be the MLB equivalent of LeBron James' summer of 2010 in terms of impact.
The agent for Ted Lilly anticipates mutual interest between his client and the Dodgers, but suspects other teams might make better offers.
“I’m just not sure the Dodgers at this point are going to get to a range that will be very easy for us to achieve come December,” agent Larry O’Brien told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. “I’m pretty confident that there’s a minimum three-year deal out there for Ted.”
Lilly, who turns 35 in January, has pitched well for the Cubs and Dodgers this season. He has an overall ERA of 3.71 with 7.6 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 186.2 total innings. He and teammate Hiroki Kuroda will be among the more appealing free agent starters not named Cliff Lee.
As Rosenthal points out, Lilly currently projects as a Type A free agent, but not by much. It may not matter, since the Dodgers would have to offer arbitration to obtain compensation picks and that doesn’t seem likely given their recent history.
Some news items as the Dodgers do battle with the D'Backs tonight...
- Jay Gibbons is expected to be re-signed by L.A., writes MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Gibbons may get some interest from Japanese teams, but it seems likely the California native will stay close to home.
- There has been no settlement yet in the ongoing McCourt divorce case, tweets the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez. The trial continues on Monday.
- The Dodgers could be setting themselves up for a future bad contract if they re-sign Ted Lilly to a long-term deal, warns Jon Weisman of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
On this date in 1990, the Dodgers signed Miguel Cairo as an amateur free agent. These days, Cairo's playing all around the diamond for the Reds, as they approach their first playoff berth since 1995. Here are today's links...
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly has “veto authority, but he most definitely does not do any of the day-to-day GM work,” according to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier in the day that some baseball people see Coonelly as the team’s de facto GM.
- Ted Lilly and the Dodgers have an understanding that they'll talk about a new deal after the season, when Lilly hits free agency, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- The D'Backs appear to want a GM whose forte is scouting and player development, according to Olney (on Twitter).
- Houston native Carl Crawford told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that he likes Houston and has nothing against the Astros. Crawford, who hits free agency this winter, says his friends see him playing for a winner. Despite their strong second half, the Astros are five games below .500.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that the Blue Jays are being "incredibly open-minded" as they search for their next field manager.
It's been an eventful week for the Dodgers, with news that Don Mattingly will replace Joe Torre as the team's manager. Let's check out a few more updates out of Los Angeles, as the club prepares for the offseason....
- GM Ned Colletti says he doesn't intend to drastically overhaul his roster this winter, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. "A year like this makes you look at every aspect of the team and makes you more apt to listen [to trade overtures]," Colletti said. "But it won't make me aggressively tear it up."
- Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times thinks that Colletti would be right not to move Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier, but argues that the club should look into dealing James Loney. He also suggests that signing a free agent outfielder should be the Dodgers' "only big winter expenditure."
- According to Gurnick, Colletti would like to add a productive left fielder to replace Manny Ramirez. It's unclear whether the Dodgers will have the resources to bid on players like Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth.
- Catcher and third base also may be areas that need to be addressed, says Gurnick. Rod Barajas will be a free agent, Russell Martin will be recovering from a broken hip, and Casey Blake could be shifted into a utility role.
- The team is expected to try to retain free agents Ted Lilly, Jay Gibbons, and Barajas. They could also attempt to bring back Hiroki Kuroda and Vicente Padilla, depending on asking price and health.
- A few longtime Yankees weighed in on Torre's decision to step down, as Chad Jennings of the Journal News writes.